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Avatar for kwolf15
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Registered: 04-10-2003
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Thu, 04-10-2003 - 6:50pm
Hello

I am new to this board. I have 3 boys, ages 19, 11 and 3. The 3 year old has ADHD, PDD and possibly mild autism. He has speech delays that he goes to therapy for once a week. He is very difficult to handle, with a lot of screeching and hitting when things don't go his way. Medication seems to make him worse. I have come to dread the weekends.

He seems to do better when we have planned activities for him, but that isn't always possible.

I guess I am just here for advice and support.

Thanks

Kerry

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: kwolf15
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 11:04pm
Hi! I'm fairly new on this board myself ... what a great bunch of people post here! Anyhow, while my son doesn't have all of the same issues your 3 YO does, he is very similar in that sometimes weekends are TOUGH!! (DS has ADD with impulse control issues, and "twinges" of ADHD. He is also gifted, and has always craved a lot of "brain stimulation".) We noticed very early on that ds does really well with well-defined structure to his days. The whole "let's hang out all day Saturday and just see where life takes us" is NOT a terrific game plan most of the time for us! Invariably, that approach leads to a bunch of whining, a melt-down or two, and several time-outs for good measure.

My ds is 6.5 YO, so the opportunities for activities/structure are probably a little more prevalent than they are for a 3 YO. When my ds was your son's age, I used to try to keep our days pretty consistent. As a "guide", I used the schedule at his preschool/day care as a sort of "template" for the days we were home together. After breakfast, we would have a story time, some art time, some time with blocks, etc. Not a whole lot of "screen time" (tv/videos/PC) at home. (They had no tv at his preschool/day care at all.) On some days, we would have playdates scheduled with friends, but I often tried to schedule them at the park or playground, where the kids would have an opportunity to run around and not be too confined. I would try to keep his meals and his nap time (when he still took one) roughly at the same time each day. And, I would work in outdoor play whenever the weather was even remotely passable (we were sometimes the only people at the playground, LOL!) At that age, we also did a weekly mom/kid music class that he loved, and he took a gymnastics class once a week as well. I worked three days a week at that point, and he really thrived in the full day preschool/day care program we had him enrolled in on those days (we increased him to four days in September of his pre-k year, and to five days by the end of that year, in preparation for entering 5-day day camp that summer and full-day kindergarten the following fall).

Your son may also start to have an easier time as he grows more able to effectively express himself. The screeching, etc may partially be a function of being frustrated at not being able to let you know exactly what he is thinking and feeling. We used to talk about feelings a LOT with ds - we gave him a lot of words to express how he was feeling at any given point (frustrated, sad, angry, silly, bored) and that seemed to help reign in some (though far from all) of his physical attacks at that age. (He goes back and forth with physical acting out with dh and I now, but that is a whole new ballgame that we have to figure out.) I hope that his therapists can offer you some additional tools to use to help curb his angry impulses as well!

We are fortunate in that we live in a very "kid-centric" area that offers a LOT of programs geared toward kids. Until recently, for example, (when the class sessions ended) ds took roller hockey class on Saturday mornings, and tennis on Sunday mornings. We've found that having one "formal" activity scheduled per weekend day makes a HUGE difference for us (a good one!) When the activity is over, it is just about lunch time. After lunch, we may head to the park for awhile to run around or roller blade or play with the other kids. So, it's a pretty good combination of two good things for ds: Structure and physical activity. On days like those, he is very likely to go home and decide to read for a couple of hours in his room in the afternoon, or play chess or backgammon with dh! If the weather is bad and we get "stuck" inside for the better (?) part of the day, I have LOTS of crafts stuff and science experiment-type stuff to fall back on if need be. Or, we bake cookies, or write/act out our own story, or play board games, or have a "DVD and popcorn" afternoon. Plus, I have been trying to get ds more proficient at "finding something to do" by himself by enforcing a period of "free play" time when we are at home, and that is paying off (albeit slooooowly).

In the summer, ds attends a full-day day camp. He started there just before his 5th birthday, and he LOVES it. Again, lots of activity, lots of structure. Sports, nature, swimming, boating, arts and crafts, drama and music ... a nice way for him to spend eight weeks of his summer. (I could deal with that myself!!) On the weekends, we typically head to the pool, and he plays with his friends there. In the fall ds participates in soccer, so that entails one evening a week for practice, plus one morning or afternoon per weekend for the games. Plus, he will be starting religious school (Hebrew School) next Fall on Sunday mornings. He also wants to take guitar or piano instruction, though we will have to see how all of that will "mesh" first with school! We do try to make sure that we provide some down time, but we have found that things go better when we have a balance of down time and scheduled activities.

Sorry this rambled on so long!! I really just wanted to let you know how we cope with the "dread of the weekend" issue, and wish you all the best with your son!

Avatar for kathy_in_ga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: kwolf15
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 10:55pm
Hi & welcome. You have your hands full! The best advise I can think of is for you to educate yourself on ADHD & PDD. What meds have you tried? My son also had bad reactions to some meds. He was first put on Ritalin whe he was 4. He had a horrid reaction to the med. Hubby & I felt so alone, until I found this message board. Ask questions, everyone will try to answer. But remember, every child is different & they can all react differently to meds. AND, if there are co morbid DX's, then that is an added link to your sons behavior. My son is ADHD/Bipolar. I didn't know he wasn't supposed to react the way he did to ritlain until I started reading posts from here. Good luck, and keep posting.


Edited 4/10/2003 11:37:49 PM ET by kathy.in.ga